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The Princess and the Goblin (1872)

by George MacDonald

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Princess and the Goblin (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,329512,018 (4.02)98
A little princess is protected by her friend Curdie from the goblin miners who live beneath the castle.
  1. 10
    The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver (Inky_Fingers)
    Inky_Fingers: There might be more than a hundred years separating these two books, but I kept thinking of The Princess and the Goblin as I was reading The Spindlers. There is a bit of plot similarity with both girls lost in a magical underground world, but there are also similarities in the beauty of the language and in taking abstract concepts like dreams and giving them solid form.… (more)
  2. 00
    At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald (Candie.London)
  3. 00
    The Tree That Sat Down by Beverley Nichols (bookel)
  4. 00
    The Little Lame Prince by Dinah Maria Mulock Craik (infiniteletters)

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» See also 98 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
Here's a classic that has not aged well. I read this and at least one other in the series at my hometown library when in my early teens, and then bought a discard copy of this book from that same library a few years later. I liked it, back in the day.

This time around, I still enjoyed the very fairy tale-like voice. The illustrations in this 1951 edition are lovely, too. But the story itself? The characters? Oof.

Princess Irene is supposed to be 8 years old, but reads more like she is 4 or 5. She does absolutely nothing for herself in this book, not even dress herself. All of her actions are essentially dictated by her ethereal ancestress who lives in a hidden part of the castle. The goblins are nasty beings who live in the mountain beneath the castle. They lack all nuance, and nothing about them makes any sense. Then there is Curdie, the young miner who is smarter than everyone in the book except for the ethereal grandmother. He's the one who discovers that the goblins are up to mischief, and he is the closest thing the book has to an active hero.

I feel somewhat sad that the book ended up being such a disappointing re-read, but I also feel fine getting rid of the book now. Goodness knows, I can use the shelf room. ( )
  ladycato | Jul 8, 2021 |
When I was 100 pages in, my wife and I started reading it aloud to each other. She ended up getting sick that night, and we finished the whole book the following day as she rested and recovered. We were both glued to the book as the action started, and we really enjoyed hearing what happened next to the Princess and to Curdie.

George MacDonald is a delightful storyteller, with the same types of insights that mark C. S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia--it is no wonder that Lewis regarded MacDonald as "his master." ( )
  Shockleyy | Jun 6, 2021 |
A writing style I'm neutral on, but a most excellent story and spirit. ( )
  wetdryvac | Mar 2, 2021 |
read aloud, but couldn't finish. My kid finished reading it alone.
  GRLopez | Nov 10, 2020 |
I wanted to read The Princess and the Goblin as an adult; it's a foundational book in the development of children's fantasy, with an active female protagonist as well. And... I didn't love it. Supposedly less moralistic than prior MacDonald works, it still reads like an instructional manual on how to be a good person, which doesn't make a great story. I had questions at the end, like why does the Goblins' Queen have toes? And Curdie is heaped with praise for choosing to stay with his family while King-Papa spends the whole time gallivanting around the country WHILE HIS DAUGHTER IS BEING ATTACKED BY GOBLINS. Every children's book goes into logical conniptions to get the parents out of the picture so that adventurous things can happen, but then one doesn't go on and on about the importance of staying with one's family: it makes one of your characters look like a royal jerk.

Important work, and I'm definitely never going to read it again. ( )
1 vote bexaplex | Feb 2, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (38 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
MacDonald, Georgeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aiken, JoanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Andronic, MadalinaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Álvarez de Toledo, PabloIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
DuPrau, JeanneIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Folkard, CharlesIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Folkard, CharlesIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goble, WarwickIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guin, Ursula K. LeIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hughes, ArthurIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Joyce, PeterNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kramer, DaveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lewis, NaomiIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martín Gaite, CarmenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Norton, AndreAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parry, AlanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, Jessie WillcoxIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, Joseph A.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tatar, MariaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomas, LlewellynIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whitcomb, IanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
There was once a little princess whose father was king over a great country full of mountains and valleys.
Introduction: A story about goblins is bound to be strange.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


A little princess is protected by her friend Curdie from the goblin miners who live beneath the castle.

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Also available at The Internet Archive:

Also available at Project Gutenberg:
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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400100844, 140010940X

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